Source Names Doctor Who Allegedly Started Biopsy on Joan Rivers

CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 9/18/2014, 2:29 p.m.
Dr. Korovin will not make "any public comment on recent press reports," her lawyer says.
Joan Rivers, 81, died a week after an appointment at Yorkville Endoscopy in New York City, New York on August 28, 2014. CNN

It was unclear if Rivers had given verbal consent to the biopsy before being sedated for the endoscopy.

The endoscope was not the only camera used while Rivers was under anesthesia, according to the source. A clinic staff member told investigators that Rivers' doctor took a selfie photo in the procedure room, the source said.

The clinic is still open, although an accreditation group is calling for it to suspend procedures and surgeries, according to letters obtained by CNN. Patients were seen in the clinic's waiting room Wednesday.

The American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF) sent representatives for an unscheduled visit to the clinic after hearing about Rivers' cardiac arrest, according to letters from the group.

The letters cited two "deficiencies" found by the representatives, declared the clinic to be in "immediate jeopardy" and placed it on "emergency suspension." The accreditation group said the clinic should stop procedures and surgeries "until accreditation questions are settled."

The clinic sent CNN a statement Wednesday night in response to questions about the accreditation association's letter putting the facility under "emergency suspension."

"Yorkville Endoscopy continues to maintain its federal, state and Quad A (AAAASF) authorization to be operational and provide patient care. Yorkville Endoscopy is committed to adhering to the standards established by Quad A (AAASF)," the statement said.

While the accreditation agency has no power to shut a clinic down, the state of New York does. State health investigators also found deficiencies in Rivers' treatment, according to a source close to the death investigation. These include the participation of River's personal throat doctor.

Yorkville Endoscopy issued a statement last Thursday denying reports that any vocal cord biopsy has ever been done at the clinic, although federal privacy law prevented any patient information from being released.

The day after the denial was issued, the clinic confirmed that Dr. Cohen "is not currently performing procedures. ... Nor is he currently serving as medical director."

The source said that at this time neither Cohen nor the ear, nose and throat doctor have been accused of wrongdoing by investigators.

The clinic declined to respond to the source's comments about a biopsy or a selfie, citing federal privacy law.

Melissa Rivers has not remained publicly silent since her mother's death on September 4, although she did post an online message thanking friends and fans Wednesday evening"

"As my son Cooper and I mourn the loss of my mother, we want to thank everyone for the beautiful cards and flowers conveying heartfelt messages and condolences, which continue to arrive from around the world and through social media. My mother would have been overwhelmed by the scope and depth of the love that people have expressed for her. It is certainly helping to lift our spirits during this time.

"We are forever grateful for your kindness and support in continuing to honor my mother's legacy, and for remembering the joy and laughter that she brought to so many."

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